The following was written by one of O’Sensei senior instructors Neville Billormia with some editing by Rod Sanford:
In the 1830´s Matsumura developed a 54 kata system in the Shorin styles of Shuri-Te Karate. The system of 54 kata in a style is an ideal no longer rigidly held to and rarely reached in this day and age.
Today not all styles have 54 katas. It may be that the heads of particular systems quit their instructor (Master) before learning all 54 katas. Or the master may have died before passing on all 54 katas to his followers. In other cases the master of the system may have refused to teach or pass on the entire system of all 54 katas to his followers. This may be because the master felt the students did not meet criteria the master had set. For example, Master Gichin Funakoshi only passed on 16 katas in Japan although he knew at least 54 katas, and probably more. But for whatever the reason, today not many schools in the United States adhere to the 54-kata systems. And so you find many systems teaching much fewer katas, sometimes only 7 to 20 katas.
The badge that we use has different meanings for different people within our organization. But all meanings of the badge have one common denominator, O’Sensei Richard Kim.
The Kanji is Japanese for “Patience”. O’Sensei Richard Kim originally drew this particular kanji. One of O’Sensei Richard Kim favorite quotes was, “Patience is the ballast of the soul”. We use this philosophy as a corner stone of our organization.
The fifty-four rays represent one half of one hundred and eight, which is the number of vices or impurities in the Buddhist world. O'Sensei Richard Kim embraced the Buddhist philosophy and was a practicing Shingon Buddhist priest. Traditionally the number of kata's within a system of karate was often 54. An example of the importance placed on the number can be found in the kata Gojushiho, or "fifty four” which is still practiced within the Shorinji Ryu Karate style and other Okinawa styles of karate.
We of the Kokusai Budokukai embrace O'Sensei Richard Kim's philosophy that learning many traditional kata's expands the martial artists ability to speak and understand the language of the martial arts.
| The Badge | Patience is the ballast of the soul | Richard Kim |